The guide to Shetland sweaters: Part two, brands

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By Manish Puri

"In part one of this guide, we discussed the general styles and constructions of Shetland jumpers, which I hope helped provide context for which jumper is right for you and why.

Now that you’ve eaten your metaphorical vegetables, you’re allowed to have dessert. In part two, we look in some detail at 11 retailers that sell high-quality Shetland knits of various styles, shades and shagginess.

Despite all my research and numerous, generous conversations with kindly retailers I’m reminded of what the famed Shetland wearer, and competent physicist, Albert Einstein once said: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know”. Which is to say dear reader that I know this guide is not, and could never hope to be, complete. Why not The Andover Shop? Will people be howling that I’ve not included Howlin’? Don’t these look good value for a heavy brushed knit?

I’m sure you’ll understand that I had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise I could become the first medical case of someone who was kept awake by counting sheep.

So, once the last full stop of this guide is typed, I pass the knitting needle baton to you. The Permanent Style readers are a font of taste and erudition, and I know they can be relied upon to highlight any hidden gems or unforgiveable omissions in the comments section. Ultimately my hope is that this guide, much like a Shetland knit, will mould, soften, and improve over time with the odd annual repair job to patch a hole here and there.

With that I present our 11 brands prioritised by nothing more than the alphabet.

Anderson & Sheppard

£225 to £265

A staple of Anderson & Sheppard’s knitwear offering, and a long-standing fixture of Permanent Style’s winter wardrobe, their classic Shetland comes in an impressive range of rich autumnal hues that I always find agonising to choose between.

The A&S shape is a little unusual, being both longer in the body than most and slimmer in the arms. The idea is that this helps when wearing tailoring. One can slip into a jacket in the same manner as sliding into a hot bath after a hard day shopping for Shetland sweaters. It also stretches a little – which is usually remedied by a gentle soak – and for this reason some customers size down.

New this winter, Anderson & Sheppard are also offering a super soft ‘Shetland’ that is akin to my memory these days – shorter and fuzzier. The jumper is styled to mimic a classic Shetland knit but is made from a brushed geelong wool, which makes it a good option for those who don’t find Shetland comfortable next to the skin.

Unlike the classic A&S it only comes in three, neutral colours – brown, grey, and natural – that would work equally well with ensembles that you either want to keep tonal or want to tone down. Compared to the classic, I found the fit to be more cropped in the body, looser in the arms and higher on the neck. The knit is also a little tighter than the classic (meaning it should stretch less) so it’s advised to take your usual size.

Anglo-Italian

£150

The clue is in the name. Since their formation in 2017, Anglo-Italian have taken inspiration from the best of both British and Italian tailoring and style. Their Shetland jumper is no exception in that it is made from Shetland yarn (naturally) but, unlike many of the other brands who also make their jumpers in Scotland, is knit in Tuscany. This doesn’t make much difference to the feel of the knit, but does mean Anglo can create their own design, and here the neck is noticeably tighter and higher.

The colour palette is in keeping with the restraint and simple elegance of the rest of Anglo-Italian’s collection – blue, green, grey, cream and charcoal. The sleeve length is just a shade longer than the other brands, which works well for me as I personally like folding back the cuff on knitwear to show a finger of shirt.

Bosie / Harley

£92 to £125

Of all the retailers and makers of Shetland knits in this guide, none can match the variety and value that Bosie offer.

Their standard crew neck (which is made under the Harley of Scotland label) comes in at around £92 and is knitted in the round, with a saddle shoulder, longer length and a slightly lower fitting and wider neckline. The characteristics of the yarns are similar to Anderson & Sheppard in that they are peppered with mustard and ochre and liquorice flecks. The same yarn is used to make up the Harley roll/polo neck (£100).

Bosie also offer the Harley jumpers in a luxury yarn (adding 12% cashmere for £125) and a Voe True yarn (from £96 to £110). Voe True is made from undyed virgin wool taken from Voe sheep - the original Shetland breed that braves the cliffs of Voe to feast on the seaweed beds of the shoreline. There is a lovely variety of stone and brown colourings across the undyed fleece of Voe and each will have natural markings and highlights that are unique to it. I think this is the best choice for someone that wants a Shetland jumper that is as authentic and natural as possible.

Jumpers made from Voe True yarn are sold by Bosie in a two ply ‘Sherpa’ model (virtually all the jumpers we have featured are also  two ply) and, more unusually, in a one ply ‘Everest’ model – the name coming from its association with Sir Edmund Hilary, who wore Voe knitwear as thermals on his ascent of Mount Everest in 1953.

Perhaps most unusual of all, Bosie offer a brushing service where they can brush your chosen Shetland wool jumper (except those made from Voe True) two, three or four times for £12 to £24.

Connolly

£195

Masochists are present in every walk of life. Even in the serene and cosy world of woollen knitwear there are those who sneer at delicate flowers like me that prefer their knitwear to be fluffy and itch-free. For those that would sooner rub Brillo pads on their nipples than wear merino wool I courteously invite you to skip this listing.

For those that prefer un-chafed nipples, Connolly carry a jumper that is 75% Shetland wool and 25% cashmere. The jumper is plated which means it is knitted so the textured wool sits on the surface whilst the cashmere is smuggled inside – the masochists will never know.  Connolly are known for using some of the most luxurious materials available so the price point of this jumper, given the amount of cashmere knitted in, is great value.

It’s constructed with a saddle shoulder and a reassuringly chunky, high neckline. I’ve sometimes found that lower necklines, whilst adept at holding the front collar points in place, neglect to grip the rear of the collar inside the jumper. The Connolly one neatly bands the collar at an equal height all the way round, which shouldn’t bring me as much pleasure as it does but what can you do?

The jumpers are available in a pink and a green that remind me of summers eating rose and pistachio kulfi at my grandmother’s house.

Another Connolly piece to highlight is a navy Shetland wool/cashmere, five-button, sleeveless V-neck cardigan (£380). What I like most about it is the finishing around the edges. The placket is deeper than standard, which helps alleviate some of the stress on the waist button, which I find can pull if you’re not arrow-straight in the belly.

The sleeve heads are also finished with tight, deep cuffs – with the jacket off it keeps the upper silhouette clean and sharp, and with a jacket on it helps keep the shirt out of the way of the inside of the sleeve. The cardigan isn’t currently available online but worth checking out in-store if you’re passing through Mayfair.

Drake’s

£195

Ever since Drake’s made the transition to a complete-wardrobe retailer the Shetland jumper has been a playful and eye-catching piece in their collections. This year’s offering is no different with a number of bright, jewel-like tones.

The styling pushes Drake’s jumpers towards the casual end of the spectrum - medium brushed, raglan sleeves and a seamless construction for greater comfort. My experience was that the jumpers run just a tad big as well, so I would recommend you consider sizing down.

In fact, I tried one jumper on that was two sizes smaller than my usual and it still looked good – a little slimmer than my tastes these days but not scandalous at all. I found the body length to be the shortest of all the knits we have looked at – ideal if, like me, you prefer a higher waist trouser.

For UK readers that like the J. Press Shaggy Dog (see below) but might baulk at the delivery and various import fees, the Drake’s jumper is the best alternative.

J Press

$245 - $265

Seriously, what is there left to say about the J. Press Shaggy Dog sweater? It’s had more origin stories written about it than Batman. Suffice to say it remains a bona fide Ivy classic, with heavy brushing that creates micro pockets of air that keep the jumper cosy while simultaneously softening both the handle and colour.

And just like Batman, J. Press have franchised the original Shaggy Dog jumper to sate all your Shetland tastes by offering:

  • The crew neck in classic fit with a set-in sleeve ($265)
  • The crew neck in trim fit with a raglan sleeve ($245)
  • The crew neck in classic fit with regimental stripes ($265)
  • The crew neck in trim fit with university stripes or rings ($265)
  • A cardigan in classic fit ($265)
  • A vest in classic fit ($225)
  • Cuffed hats in one and two tone ($60)

The V-neck cardigans, in particular, look terrific and would be great to pair with flannels and an Oxford shirt in place of a shawl collar. And of course, each of these variations is available in a symphony of colours.

Jamieson’s

£112

Were I to describe the Jamieson family as woolly-headed I can assure you it wouldn’t be intended as an insult. For five generations, their family business has revolved around Shetland wool and today they are highly unusual in both spinning their own yarn and making their own knitwear.

The Jamieson’s Knitwear website has a good selection of saddle shoulder crew necks and Fair Isle knits that are available direct to consumer. Unlike Harley’s (which is a similar price point – see above) the Jamieson’s jumpers are not seamless, which makes them a little more structured and straighter through the body. As a part-time and pitifully slow knitter, I also love that you can purchase balls of yarn from them should you be skilled in the way of the needle.

Dick’s Edinburgh (who won the Permanent Style award for Best Menswear Shop in 2020) also stock a great range of Jamieson’s Shetland and Fair Isle jumpers alongside knitwear from Harley’s and Laurence J. Smith (see below). This makes Dick’s the only place to experience the differences between the three fine Scottish knitters we have included in this guide.

You can also find a wide variety of Jamieson’s knitwear in traditional and more fashionable styles and colours on End Clothing.

Laurence J Smith

€220

Laurence J Smith, a small Hoswick-based knitter employing around 14 people, is little known in their domestic market because most of its product ends up in Japan. Fortunately, there is one European retailer, Frans Boone, which has their seamless knits in a vibrant array of colours. However, stock is limited, and so indecision is seldom rewarded (as I’ve found to my chagrin).

Dick’s Edinburgh and John Simons in London have both stocked Laurence J. Smith in recent years and hope to carry them again this winter, but at the time of writing were awaiting delivery. The pandemic has brought further challenges to an area of the world where it was never straightforward to manufacture in the first place.

The Laurence J. Smith jumpers are made using hand-framed knitting machines - a slower knitting process that results in a finish that feels closer to a hand-knitted garment. The knits themselves are a little heavier and hardier than most of the jumpers in this guide, which means they take a lot longer to make.

Owning one myself now, I can say that unlike the neat uniformity of a machine knit, the stiches on a hand-frame piece gently fizz with expression – some slightly raised, some flatter, some running like train tracks and some just slipping off the straight and narrow. Of course, this is barely perceptible at a casual (and even a formal) glance but it’s a characteristic that marries well with the textured nature of the wool. A piece for the purist.

O’Connell’s

$175 - $235

Based in upstate New York, O’Connell’s are one of the few independent trad retailers left in the US and they carry a dizzying range of Shetland sweaters. Across their range, O’Connell’s advice is to take a size up from your standard jacket size.

Their classic saddle shoulder crewneck comes in every imaginable colour in both plain ($195) and cable knit ($225). Like Bosie, O’Connell’s also have a range of undyed Voe True jumpers in plain ($225) and ribbed knit ($235) which highlight the natural beauty and colouring of Shetland fleece. For weightwatchers, O’Connell’s carry a heavier chunky knit ($225) and a lighter, airier seed-stitch knit ($175) – ‘Row 1: Knit 1, purl 1, repeat and Row 2: Purl 1, knit 1, repeat’ for all my fellow knitters out there.

For US readers, O’Connell’s offers the widest range of crew neck jumpers of the brands we’ve looked at. They are also the only retailer that has three different weights of knit – standard, chunky and seed-stitch. If you already have a couple of Shetland jumpers then considering a different weight might be a nice way to introduce some variety.

Trunk

£160

Trunk’s in-house Shetland model (the Berwick) has proved to be one of their most successful lines in recent years. Their popularity is, I think, largely due to the consistently on-point colour selections – I often like to look really closely at the dark orange (shown above) and pretend I’m in a helicopter above New England in September.

The Berwick features a comfortable seamless construction, is trim (but not tight) through the body and has a higher neckline than standard, which helps to keep your shirt collar closer to the body. The saddle shoulder seams are a little more pronounced than similar knits which is a nice point of detail that helps draw the eyes toward the face.

William Crabtree & Sons

£125

A five-minute northerly walk from the mania of London’s Oxford Street will bring you to the charming oasis of New Quebec Street, where James Priestley has chosen to resurrect his great, great, great grandfather’s business William Crabtree & Sons.

James has lived and worked in the textile industry his entire life, with more incarnations than Lord Vishnu – working with Yorkshire Mills, Savile Row and as an agent for knitwear maker William Lockie.

William Crabtree’s Shetland jumper comes in seven colours – I particularly love the blue, brown and grey marls – with set-in sleeves and a high neck. I found the body length ideal for readers who like their trousers to be low to medium rise or like their jumpers to have a little plume over the waistband. They also stock a beautiful selection of Jamieson’s Fair Isle knits in crewneck, waistcoat, and slipover V-neck.

One thing to watch out for when buying from William Crabtree is they use traditional jumper measurements which are on-the-flat. In other words, the measurements don’t correspond to chest size but to twice the pit-to-pit measurement. For example, a size 42 William Crabtree jumper will have a pit-to-pit of around 21”, which is closest in fit to most of the mediums that we’ve looked at. However, the best advice is to measure a jumper you own and start from there.

The Shetland Index

The Shetland index is designed to collect the key information of each of the standard, plain crewnecks featured.

To aid comparison we’ve shown the chest and body length measurements for the Medium (or equivalent) with measurements taken from the brands – we began to compile sleeve length but there are so many different ways to measure this that the comparison quickly became meaningless.

One thing to note with a fibre like this, and with small production, is that dozens of factors (including annual rainfall!) can have a small effect on size from one year to the next. So if you’re unsure about sizing, it’s particularly worth speaking to brands about it.

Prices are correct as of time of writing."

 

Brand Model/size Price Shoulder Brushing Chest  Length  Neckline Other models
Anderson & Sheppard Standard (M) £225 Saddle Unbrushed 53.5cm 70cm Standard N/A
Super soft Geelong (M) £265 Saddle Light brush 55 67 High
Anglo Italian Standard (M) £150 Set-in Unbrushed 54 65 High N/A
Bosie Harley (M) £92 Saddle Unbrushed or brushed 52 69 Low Roll/polo neck, luxury yarn, one and two ply Voe True
Connolly Standard (M) £195 Saddle Light brush 56 69 High N/A
Drake’s Standard (M) £195 Raglan Medium brush 55 62 Standard N/A
J. Press

 

Classic Fit (M) $265 Set-in Heavy brush 53 67 Standard Regimental stripes, cardigan, or vest
Trim Fit (M) $245 Raglan Heavy brush 51 66 Standard University stripes
Jamieson’s Standard (40) £112 Saddle Unbrushed 51.5 64 Standard Fair Isle, shawl collar cardigan, V-neck cardigan, cable, roll neck and stripe. (See Dick’s and End)
Laurence J. Smith Standard (40) €220 Raglan Unbrushed 52 64 Standard N/A
O’Connell’s Standard (40) $195 Saddle Unbrushed 51 66 Standard Plain, cable and ribbed knit.

Voe True yarn.

Chunky and seed-stitch knit.

Trunk Berwick (M) £160 Saddle Unbrushed 53 67 High N/A
William Crabtree & Sons Standard (42) £125 Set-in Unbrushed 54 67.5 High Fair Isle waistcoat, crew neck and V-neck slipover.

Roll neck.

I would like to extend special thanks to James Priestley of William Crabtree & Sons and Andrew Dick and Uli Schade of Dick’s Edinburgh for their time and help in writing this guide.

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Ashley Wheat

I have 2 Shetland woollen company knits, that I think would be deserving of a place on this list too. Compared to my other Harley, they have a slightly lower neckline, but a better shape in the body, coming up a tad slimmer. Like the Harley, I had to size down.

EL

Shetland Woollen Co. is made by Laurence Odie. Laurence Odie also makes Laurence J. Smith (mentioned in this article), O’Connell’s (at least the plain and cable knits; also mentioned in this article), J. Press Shaggy Dogs (mentioned in this article), and I believe the Andover Shop (I know they used to at least). They used to make for Ben Silver too and those were my favorite from them.

Aside from obvious difference (brushing, shoulder design), I can’t comment if the specs are the same on these options, but these options are all well-made. I have from Shetland Woollen Co., O’Connell’s, Ben Silver, and a couple of other places which I don’t believe carry them anymore (one is defunct). They are all good sweaters.

Jonathan

Hi Ashley, as I understand it…
The “Shetland Woollen Company” and “Laurence J Smith” labels are associated with the same company, Laurence Odie Knitwear Limited (LOKL). LOKL succeeded Laurence J Smith in 2004 and operates from the same site in Hoswick, Shetland. Presumably LOKL continued the Smith label.
LOKL make the sweaters for O’Connells and The Andover Shop, as well as the J Press Shaggy Dogs. This sort of situation is understandably common in the world of private label knitwear (one maker supplying lots of shops/brands).
I find Manish’s guide particularly useful for the buyer, who is probably less concerned with the supply chain and more with the individual styles that different shops have to offer.
Jonathan

Jonathan

Ha, I think EL and I submitted almost concurrently.

EL finishes with the key point: while there are no doubt spec/fit differences between these Odie sweaters, one could probably expect the essential quality and details, such as the yarn (JC Rennie, I think), linking, ribbing and so on, to be pretty similar and indicative.

As Manish points out, the O’Connell’s sweaters have a saddle shoulder. This seems to be closely associated with Ivy and the demand from American markets – curious if anyone knows the history here.

Thanks, Jonathan

EL

I think Jamieson’s yarn is generally used.

Jonathan

That wouldn’t surprise me. Doubtless they use Jamieson, Rennie, and more besides!

It is great to see so much interest in all this. Let’s hope that these makers keep their order books full.

Colin

Hi Simon….this guide is really incredibly helpful and I’m so pleased you included some makes around the £100 mark, from some names I had yet to discover! I’m guessing the more well known brands among PS readers (Drakes, A&S etc) have their garments made at the same mills as the cheaper one’s; would it be a gross misrepresentation of me to assume that the higher price point is a combination of better fit (important) cost of maintaining a retail premises and higher marketing costs (less important, for some) Thanks Colin

Tony H

Hi Colin – in my experience, different products of the same type made at the same mill/tannery/winery can cost very different amounts, depending on the input cost of materials, and the processes applied.

Drake’s might source the input wool from a different farmer, or have things washed or brushed in a more expensive way, for instance.

Separately, few large garment business price on cost-plus – the price of a garment represents the company’s assessment of what the market will bear, rather than the cost of production.

Tony H

Oh, indeed. I think we might be saying different things in different ways. I didn’t mean to imply that companies make things on the cheap and then nudge prices up in some nefarious way or that cost isn’t a core consideration – just that the price consideration tends to come toward the start, rather than the end.

I guess I meant more that they have a view about what the market will pay for their product, and what quality they need to make to maintain that position – and then they produce the garments where cost and margin come in under the market price, look for changes they can make to production and inputs get cost and margin under their price point, or don’t make the item.

This is probably more true for outfits operating at higher volumes. Obviously less true for bespoke and small run manufactures, but what the market will bear still has a big impact – if your product is out of step on the upside of what people will pay, you won’t win many customers and won’t be around for too long.

Having the cost of high street stores doesn’t make you charge more, otherwise H&M would be charging heaps!

Aron

Hi Simon

Excellent topic as usual, and very topical, as I am currently considering buying a few new sweaters.
As someone with relatively long arms, I very much appreciate the point about comparing sleeve length. It is an absoulute nightmare! However, from what you encountered in your research / experience, could you point to some of these brands that (seem to) have longer sleeves?
Many thanks, and keep up the good work!

Best regards
Aron

Manish

Hi Aron
Whilst body length varied a lot – for example, there were some jumpers where (for my taste and trouser height) you could lop off 5cm and it still wouldn’t be too short – sleeve length was a lot more consistent.
However, I think Anglo-Italian and William Crabtree both had marginally longer sleeves as I instinctively rolled the cuff back on both those jumpers – which is something I like doing where possible anyway. However, we’re not talking much more than an extra centimetre or two here.
The only other suggestion I could make is sizing up on a circular knit, raglan sleeve such as Drake’s or Laurence J. Smith. The sleeve length should be longer and, because of the lack of seams around the sides and shoulders, it’s that much easier to cheat the eye and get away with a larger size.
I hope that helps.
Cheers,
Manish

Aron

Hi Manish

Thanks very much. Appeciate the very swift follow-up.

Cheers
Aron

Pyc

Hi Manish,
Have you any insight to offer into the varying prices? Are they due to the location of the manufacturer in Hoswick or the bricks and mortar on Clifford Sreet?
Cheers

Manish

Hi Pyc
I think Simon has covered it really well in this comment and the one above to Colin. The only other significant technical element I’d add is whether it is hand-frame knitted or not as this can influence price a lot as well.
More generally, and this is solely my personal rationale when it comes to justifying price, I think there is a premium for specificity. If you’re after a pink jumper but are not fussy beyond that then you’ll have four or five options and you may as well take the cheapest one. However, I think a lot of PS readers (myself included) have quite specific notions when they go out shopping, and so you might want a specific shade of pink WITH a saddle shoulder AND as soft a handle as possible AND a higher neckline. Suddenly you might only be left with one or two options and I’m comfortable paying that bit extra in those cases if this is something I really want.
I hope that helps,
Manish

Peter Hall

One thing which strikes me is the consistency of the knits. All of these appear to be well made and enduring.
I have a black Voe True from Dicks. Absolutely bombproof, lightweight and easily fits under tailoring.It has a lovely speckled texture. Certainly my favourite item of clothing.

Joe

Hi Peter,
just wanted to say that I always enjoy your comments.
Cheers

Peter Hall

That’s very nice of you to say,Joe.

Simon

I second this!

WES WP

I have found Peter to be an injection of helium on this board. He’s the nicest guy I’ve never met – but hope to someday.

Magnus

#metoo

Robin

Great article ,Manish.

This is one thing I particularly enjoy about PS . Learning about brands that otherwise I would never hear of .
The bit on sizing is a great bonus as knitwear can vary considerably.

Simon , we need more Manish.

P.S. having previously paid no more then £40 for a woollen jumper I’m now ‘easy’ about looking at £100 plus jumpers .
The PS effect no doubt !

Manish

Thank you, Robin 🙂 You’ve made my day!

Robin

Apologies in advance if this sounds stupid but how is it best to buy based on sizing measurements .
For example if someone is a 53 cm 1/2 chest (ie 42 inch chest measurement) what jumper size should they buy ?
How much wider , in cm’s or inches , should the actual woollen be ?

I ask as often with jumpers a medium might read 40-42 whilst a large will read 42-44.

Robin

Understood, but how do Tailors/ Shirt-makers etc deal with this.
For example , does a shirt-maker say “41.5 inch chest. So lets make the shirt 5 inchs wider on the chest”.
Or even a coat-maker
Just wondering if there’s a rule of thumb .

And

my problem with this is that very often brands’ sizing has significant differences from what they state, and/or my measuring isn’t like their for whatever reason (e.g. my garments are already washed/stretched out/etc).
I have almost never been able to use measurement more accurately than just the size tag and some comments from previous purchasers.

Tony H

I often email customer service to ask whether the measurements listed are the garment or the recommended chest size of the wearer if you ask them.

Most are pretty quick to come back.

Aaron

Robin I’m a size 42 in tailoring, I like buying 44″ for slimmer knits and 46″ for something looser e.g. a shawl cardigan.

darryl

I recently bought another Harley/Bosie jumper and would recommend them. Readers should keep an eye out for the MTO shadecard, which is only avalible in September/November each year and enables you to choose from a vast array of often unusual colours, shades and styles for the same cost as their RTW. Another tip – if you wear higher waist trousers and want a shorter lenght jumper and don’t have long arms, simply order a womens version as these are shorter in the body, but otherwise identical.

And

how about the waist, any slimmer? If so it could be an interesting proposition.
Once I visited Falconeri factory outlet and was about to try on a knit with a nice vintage-style deep V, in a seemingly slim fit, nice grey shade, before the sale assistant came by to tell me it was a women’s knit. I was then too ashamed of my apparent ignorance to try it, but maybe I should have simply ignored her.

darryl

Well it would pay to check their onsite measurement guide, but as i recall they are simply shorter in the body and slightly shorter in the arms. otherwise identical. I have two, one ‘womens’ from this year and a mens from a previous year, laying one on the other this is what i find.

DB

FWIW, I’ve had success with the same approach with Bosie. The women’s version appears to be the same product, just with a shorter body and sleeve length. I can’t see anything in the cut or detailing that gives it away as a women’s sweater.
It works well for me, since I (almost) always find the body and sleeves on knitwear to be too long.

Fernando

Good to know! Thanks!

Brendan

Hello Manish, thank you for the comprehensive article.
Can you elaborate on the fit of the LJ Smith knits at all? The sweaters on the Frans Boone website look lovely.
Also, I can strongly recommend the Shetlands from Malloch’s. I recently purchased a sweater in vintage orange from Clutch Cafe. Fit in size large very similar to my AS in medium. Trim fit through the body, sleeves not quite as narrow and neckline higher than AS. Also set in sleeve rather than saddle. Unbrushed. I tried a nice denim blue one also which was a great colour too.

Manish

Hi Brendan
No problem at all – I’m so glad you found it comprehensive.
I’m a 37″ chest around 5’10”. Typically I wear a Small or Medium in most things and I have a LJS in size 42.
The fit is slightly looser and longer than I was expecting based on the website measurements – which could be because these jumpers are hand-framed and so I think it is expected there is slightly more size variation from one knit to the next. It might also be because the circular knits can run a little more boxy (as we discussed in part one).
I’m very happy with the 42. I love the knit, the colour and the more robust yarn and I know I have a nasty tendency to shrink jumpers when washing them so if it loses a cm or two in the waist and length I won’t be crying. Were there a local (London) stockist that carried a size 40 I would definitely try it out but I think that might just err on the snug side.
I hope that helps.
Cheers,
Manish

Neil

Hi Manish

Thank for your thorough work.

Can I trouble you a bit more on the fit of the LJS? I’m heavily considering it, but looking at the measurements from Frans Boone website, the sleeve length seems oddly short. For a size 42, it’s listed as 80cm, which seems short compared to practically all my current sweaters. And I typically take size 50 IT, which should equate to size 40 UK. And looking at e.g. the chest measurement, I would have already ordered the 40 for a snug fit already, if I didn’t check the sleeve lenght.

So do you find that the sleeve length on you sweater corresponds to the measurement on the Frans Boone site?

Manish

Hi Neil
No problem at all.
I have an LJS 42 (see photo in response to Brendan) and the measurement I’m getting is 81cm which is 1cm more than online – this could just be because I’ve stretched it a little through wearing it.
As a comparison, my Connolly medium is 84cm (using the LJS measurement system) and a Natalino medium I have is 83cm.
So, perhaps the LJS is a touch shorter but I haven’t had any issues where it’s feel unusually short when wearing it.
Hope that helps.
Cheers,
Manish

Manish

A (poor quality) snap of my LJS. It’s a little more bunched at the waistband because of that extra length and room in the waist. But I also wear higher waisted trousers which will exacerbate that.

12263B86-C665-4C6B-A302-D9958BE0542A.jpeg
Brendan

Thanks for the reply, and taking the trouble to post the photo. I see what you mean about the fit around the waist, but I think it looks great. Lovely colour and nice neckline too.

Stephen

Hi Manish,
Thank you for a comprehensive, informative and interesting article. Plenty there from which to go deeper if required with the respective brands. It’s certainly should save some legwork (actual or virtual). For me a higher neckline is my preference, so good to see this included.
The table is an especially useful summary. Something often used for technology products but not in my experience used in this context. Something others may wish to consider for various types of menswear products.
It’s always good to learn something new – I have.
Thanks again
Simon, More articles like this one please. Thanks

Manish

Hi Stephen
Thank you so much for your comment! And I’m especially pleased you found the table useful!
Cheers,
Manish

Gilles

A big thank you Manish for the extraordinary pair of articles on Shetland jumpers, which are, as I’ve said several times here, among my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. The technical article was detailed yet very clear and enlightening, while this second one on brands allowed me to hear about your opinion on some brands I know (A&S, LJS, Trunk,…) as well as to discover some others. On my end, I remain an absolute fan of A&S onces (both for the make, the color palette and their density), while I also like LJ Smith for their authenticity, color palette and more coarse feel.

Manish

Thank you so much, Gilles! I’m so happy that you enjoyed both articles and really appreciate your feedback on what you liked.
Best wishes,
Manish

Robert M

Hi Manish. Unfortunately nothing for me here as with all high-quality RTW (the curse of being tall), but I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your writing style. The humour is on point!

Manish

Hi Robert

Damn! That is a shame but I’m so pleased that the article wasn’t a total loss for you. Thank you so much for the compliment I really appreciate it.

Best wishes!

Steve

Laughing and learning make the finest partners. Seriously high quality, humorous writing; haven’t seen this kind of quality anywhere on the web in a long, long time. Well done. I wasn’t previously in the market for a Shetland, but now, I am! Cheers, Steve

Manish

Steve!
What a thing to say! Thank you so so much!
Happy hunting and if, like me, you find yourself getting a little addicted you are welcome to join my newly-formed Shetlands Anonymous support group.
Cheers,
Manish

Manish

Just to help round the article out I’m going to upload the photos I took whilst out and about doing my research. The jumpers are Medium or medium-equivalent.

Manish

A&S classic Shetland

E3EEF069-BFE2-4A7B-B74E-38595FEA4214.jpeg
Theophile

Thank you for all the pics ; it is infinitely helpful.
May I ask what cloth are the trousers here pictured made of ?

Manish

Hi Theophile
Not a problem at all, I’m really pleased they help. Yes, they’re chocolate brown peached cotton from Stoffa.
Cheers,
Manish

Manish

A&S brushed geelong

86FEB5A5-5A9E-40FA-AB5B-A793E7D0F35B.jpeg
Manish

Connolly

2E79650F-84C6-4325-862B-377FA8E8E3AA.jpeg
Manish

Drake’s

2441A0D9-62C5-4664-8C54-0991BF3673F8.jpeg
Manish

Connolly Shetland vest

B4507090-4F4E-4064-9ABC-A62FA61AAA10.jpeg
Manish

Trunk

BC6CB364-A054-4827-A50D-C72CE321F5A2.jpeg
Manish

William Crabtree & Sons

14ACD27F-79EA-40D7-89ED-D215357DFC7C.jpeg
Manish

William Crabtree & Sonos Shetland roll neck

76CCC8CF-7FCD-4587-951E-91B898AAE86E.jpeg
EL

Thanks! One question: how did you find the Shetland turtleneck in terms of neck comfort? I generally wear an OCBD under my sweaters, but am just concerned about whether I’d be okay with the feel of the wool on my neck.

Gilles

Thank you Manish for all the photos. This roll neck is absolutely gorgeous. Isn’t it scartchy against the neck, though? I always refrain from buying roll neck jumpers other than cashmere precisely because of this. Thanks.

Manish

Hi El and Gilles
It was a little scratchy but with the shirt underneath I didn’t have any issues. I should note that I’m bearded and have sharp stubble so the jumpers usually come off worse than my neck! However, if you’re clean shaven then I guess it might irritate the skin a little more.
Cheers!

Peter Hall

Manish.
Have you found the roll neck too warm for every day wear? Is it only for outdoors?

Manish

Hi Peter
I didn’t buy the roll neck although I do think it looks rather good! It wasn’t as super heavy and dense as other roll-necks so I think it would be ok for more regular use.
Cheers,
Manish

Peter K

I have to echo Steve and Robert M. Thanks for the humour in your article and starting my day with a smile Manish.

Manish

Thank you so much, Peter. I really appreciate you taking the time to say that and, as a result, you’ve ended my day with a smile.

JoshuaMN

Ah damn, I’ve been shopping from Bosie for years and now you’ll all be at it.

CDBP

Great article !! And great choice of suppliers !
I go with Harley and J Press.

Pete

Hi Manish, I think I saw you post a pic on your Instagram a while back with you wearing the Natalino shetland sweater.
I was wondering what you think of it and is it as short as the Drake’s one?

Thanks

Manish

Hi Pete
Good memory!
I do like it. It’s very soft and has quite a “fat” neck – almost like a mock-neck. In terms of length, it’s about the same as Drake’s but it seems like a looser knit and does stretch a little, and so it feels like it’s a little longer.
Hope that helps.
Cheers

MrB

Excellent article. Another brand I can recommend from personal experience are Anderson & Co at http://www.shetlandknitwear.com particularly their hand framed,undyed Kellister range. More a casual wear with jeans and Barbour jacket type of cut / sizing but wear beautifully and a quick hand wash brings them back to like new. At £80 to £95 a time they are at the cheaper end of the scale.

Andy Wagon

Very informative article thanks.

Magnus

Wow, this is great. That chart is so helpful.
Just a quick note – I think Jamieson’s sizing is also on-the-flat, like you noted for the William Crabtree pieces.

Jake

I’d love a long sleeved v-neck Shetland jumper – not cardy or tank top – and have only found quite a limited range at Cordings. Does anyone make them in varied colours?

Rob

I am intrigued by the Bosie brushing service. How may brushes do you think is needed to make a standard sweater look like a Shaggy Dog?

Manish

Hi Rob
I can’t say for definite but my sense is it is somewhere in the triple to quad brushed range.
Thanks!

TT

Knitwear can be surprisingly complex and can be confusing to find what you’re looking for. Many thanks to Manish on his extremely informative article that covers a wide variety of price points and companies.
Will there be any other similar product articles in the future Simon?

Manish

Thank you. TT. I’m so glad you found it informative.

TT

Looking forward to it and it adds another great dimension to the wealth of information on PS. The decision to include a wider variety of articles in addition to the great tailoring reviews has taken PS to another level in my opinion.

If Manish has more fantastic insights on other areas I’d be looking forward to reading more articles written by Manish.

Fernando Bermudez

I purchased a Shetland jumper at Cilento in Naples a few months ago. It was super thick and fit wonderfully. After a few wears I can say it is the best Shetland that I have ever worn. I did a bit of investigation and found that it was made my Laurence Odie in Hoswick. I unreservedly recommend it.

Manish

Thanks ever so much, Fernando.
And my understanding is that Laurence Odie is the founder of Laurence J. Smith so you’ll find the same quality jumpers on both labels.

Fernando Bermudez

I did a little bit more investigation last night and think basically true. I think that both companies started independently of each other but Odie later took over JLS. Products can be found with either name. For example, you point out the few European outlets that carry JLS while Cilento’s products carry the Odie label.

Matt

Aren’t these all made by the same handful of makers? For instance, Harley almost certainly makes Drakes’s current run. Laurence J Smith makes O’Connell’s and J Press. Then you have Jamiesons and I think Lockie making for various brands. Would be interesting to note who makes for whom.

Adam Jones

This is very true. I have two of lockie cashmere shawl cardigans. Tried a few on from different brands when I was buying them and a lot were made by lockie, but every one of them was different. Some longer, some baggier in the waist/ longer in the arm etc. All were the same quality and essentially the same item but different to suit the brand.

Ended up getting the Thom Sweeney ones (when they used to use Lockie) as they were slimmer cut, shorter arms and horn buttons instead of leather.

Fabijan

Wow, yet another cool article, great job and thank you Manish. Also a very nice and helpful thread of comments, I enjoy seeing civilized people getting involved!

Manish

Thank you so much, Fabijan! I appreciate it. I agree, some super helpful insights from everyone. What a community to be part of 🙂

Simon

More Manish please – he can be the Permanent Style roving reporter!
*cuts to Manish on the cliffs of Voe, impeccably dressed, standing by a Sheep.

Manish

Haha! What a picture you’ve painted. I might be more ‘raving’ than ‘roving’ but I’ll do my best. Cheers Simon 🙂

Dr Peter

This is an outstanding pair of articles, Manish and Simon! My commendations on a well-researched and useful compendium of information. Great images, and great humour too.
The one note I would add has to do with the other material for sweaters: Cotton. I have a fair number of saddle shoulder crewneck and V-neck sweaters made from cotton. I find them just as warm as wool sweaters, less pricey overall, and most important, less susceptible to pilling. They are also quite comfortable on cooler days or evenings in the summer months.
In this connection, I also wonder if some of the brands detailed above are less susceptible to pilling than others.

And

Conversely, I haven’t found cotton sweaters to be of much use to be honest, besides maybe a cotton cardigan to only wear in very early morning or late evenings in spring.
In my experience the temperature range in which you would comfortably wear a cotton sweater all day long, but not a thin Merino one is basically non existent. Each year I transition from no sweater to cotton, and basically three days later I find it’s already time for thin merino. You could go heavier cottons, but I can’t see the advantage over finer wool, which simply termoregulates better over the day and offers much better warmth per weight. Merino is also often barely more expensive than cotton.
I have acquired a few cotton short sleeved knits (“t-shirts”) though, which I am going to try as a late spring solution mostly for style points rather than actual need of warmth.

Meekal

This is an incredibly helpful and well researched piece of writing. A great resource. Thank you.

Anton

Simon, I really liked this article, specifically the fact that you brought in a knowledgeable guest writer. You’ve given us years and years of knowledge and education on menswear. In a way this might be a good model going forward where you spend more of your time curating a small collective of guest writers along side your own articles. They would be able to provide fresh ideas and different perspectives along the lines of the Permanent Style Philosophy.

On an unrelated note, you used to have a Trunk Show calendar. With more and more trunk shows returning, is there any plans to return that feature? It was what originally brought me to your blog in the first place a few years back.

Drew

Hi Simon! Thanks so much for this! I’ve been on a huge sweater kick lately, and have been trying to find Shetland and Fair Isle sweaters. Do you have any experience with Campbell’s of Beauly and/or Cordings? Thanks so much!

ChrisK

Great article, thank you; very informative and useful.

Michael

Simon – wonderful content, thank you for sharing.
Considering your close relationship with PWVC, any comments around the quality of the wool/construction of their collaboration with Johnstons of Elgin, roll neck sweaters at 495, relative to the above?

Michael

Apologies – that is my misunderstanding! I am still learning.
Good to know you approve of the PWVC/JoE cashmere.

TT

I have the PWVC cashmere ribbed sweater Michael.

It’s a very nice product and one of my favourite sweaters. It’s thick, spongy, soft and robust with long fibres. Very little pilling despite frequent use. The ecru colour in particular is very nice.

The fit is more relaxed without being too baggy in the waist. True to size or size down one if you want a slightly slimmer relaxed fit.

You can’t really go wrong with the cashmere from PWVC/JoE products.

Michael

TT – very helpful. Thank you!

RT

I have the PWVC ribbed cashmere pullovers in navy and in cream, and I like them a lot. My only criticism would be that the neckline could be a little higher/tighter for my liking. Of course, that’s a matter of personal taste. Really lovely sweaters, though. I also have three of the roll necks, which are superb.

Nico

Hey Manish,

May I ask whether you are the same Manish that was reader – profiled not long ago? The reason to ask is that I found your writing on this topic to be surprisingly skilled and amusing coming from a finance guy. Not meaning anything derogatory of finance guys, being one myself.

I think as a result you sparked a level of participation and direct exchange between readers in the comments seldom paralleled.

Also on topic, I realise crew neck is pretty essential to the style, but did you come by any V – neck in your quest? I feel the countrysh ribbing of Shetlands should also look good in those, and may make for nice variation in a collection.

Best,

Manish

Hi Nico
Thank you so much for such a generous comment!
Yes, I’m the chap from the reader profile series and work in Insurance. No offense taken! It’s one of the challenges in our industry to get people to understand that it’s not just enough to be very good with figures and spreadsheets, you also need to be able to communicate what you’ve done, why you’ve done it and what’s the key messages to others that won’t have the same technical skills.
For V-necks, beyond the cardigans and slipovers there wasn’t too much. However, Jamieson’s make this great Shetland V-neck which is the Edward VIII jumper
https://www.jamiesonsknitwear.co.uk/vee-neck-sweater-with-2-colour-rib—6262-94-p.asp
Best wishes,
Manish

David

Can dark brown shetlands be worn with dark brown suede boots/shoes? Or is it a clash?

zo

thanks Manish, this is very useful, can I suggest you do a similar compare chart for shawl collar cardigans?

John

I second this. Actually, this would be an even more interesting comparison considering: 1) the level of interest they receive on sites like PS and the versatility of the garment, 2) that there are quite a few versions out there in the market. That being said, the vast majority of them are made by William Lockie. So perhaps a head-to-head of Colhay’s version vs. William Lockie/Drakes? I, at least, would be very interested in that.

And thanks l, Manish, for the excellent summary.

Jim

I just received two Jamieson’s v neck cardigans in navy and light brown. Absolutely delighted – the quality is superb and they’re just wonderful – and very warm – to wear. Highly recommend to any other fans of this style.

Yash

Hi Manish (and Simon)
Superb set of articles. Well researched and well written.
Kudos to you and Simon (for having the foresight of letting suitable external talent loose on such an interesting topic).
Just a quick comment here really on my preference when it comes to Shetlands. I have bought a couple from A&S and will most probably stick to those for a few reasons:

  1. The slimness of cut, while nowhere close to being tight, means they layer really well. It also cuts wind chill factor nicely as the jumper remains close to the body.
  2. Love the shoulder and neck construction. The shoulders look unusual, almost crafted and the neck is quite firm, if that makes sense (or so it seems anyway).
  3. The colours. There is a vast range of colours and somehow they are all subtle and of the earth. So if it a pink it is dusty rather than bright. A purple is deep and rich. A green can be emerald or heather etc etc…
  4. Price point. Yes, in absolute terms they are more expensive than many others, but relative to a lot of the other things I have from A&S they are really well priced.

None of this is definitive of course and all highly subjective but just some of the reasons I love the A&S Shetland’s.

Anon

Simon, I finally bit the bullet and bought a bright red Shetland from the wonderful people at Anderson and Sheppard. I find it pretty itchy unless I wear a shirt of some sort underneath and have been pairing it with indigo raw/selvedge denim.

However, I’m struggling with the right styling and colour complementarity here. A white Oxford seems too stark and flag-like against the red Shetland and blue denim. What would work better? Perhaps a chambray shirt? Any styling tips greatly appreciated as I’m finding this bright red a little challenging!

Brendan

Just wondering if anyone has arranged invisible mending on a Shetland (and if so, who)? An A&S one I have had worn through at the elbow after only a year and a half, and I’m not especially keen on the idea of patches.

Carsten

Thanks for this informative write-up, even though I’m somewhat late to the party. I may be looking in the wrong places but this type of knitwear seems to be difficult to find in Germany. Do you have any recommendations for places in London where one would be able to find the likes of Jamieson’s, Harley, William Lockie et al. in a brick and mortar shop?
Thanks, Carsten

PeterHall

Have you tried https://en.michaeljondral.com/collections/strick Carsten? He certainly sells Lockie. The shop is in Hannover.